Ask the Attorney: Replace the carpeting?

ask-the-attorneyThe Landlord Protection Agency®presents John Reno, Esq.,a highly experienced Landlord – Tenant attorney based on Long Island, NY.

Q:  Dear Mr. Reno:

If the carpet in my rental home is 10 yrs old but in good condition, do I have the right to demand our tenants to pay for the replacement of the carpet if they allowed their dog for 2 1/2 yrs to urinate all over it throughout the entire house so much that it went through the padding into the sub flooring? Professional carpet cleaning services said it would be impossible to clean it.

Dean Loftis, Mississippi

A: Yes, you can, but why change it if they’re still there?

Legal Disclaimer
The Landlord Protection Agency’s “Ask the Attorney” column is for informational purposes only. The questions answered by Mr. Reno on this site do not constitute an attorney – client relationship and are not to be considered legal advice. Not all questions will be answered and some may appear in the LPA Q&A Forum.
The Landlord Protection Agency recommends that you seek legal advice before using any of the material offered on this web site, and makes no guarantee on the effectiveness, compliance with local laws or success of any of the material offered on this web site. The Landlord Protection Agency is not engaged in rendering legal advice.

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Ask The Attorney – Screening Question

ask-the-attorney

The Landlord Protection Agency®presents John Reno, Esq.,a highly experienced Landlord – Tenant attorney based on Long Island, NY.

Q:  Dear Mr. Reno:

I have a couple applying for my rental. The gentleman has a good credit history but his girlfriend’s is horrible. If I just have him on the lease and he leaves the rental due to a break-up, do I have a big problem getting her out of my house? What would I have to do? We are in Maryland.. Thanks. Jane W., MD

A: It’s a package deal. You like’em as a couple, or you don’t. Does his responsibility outweigh her lack thereof? That’s your call. Leaving her off the lease doesn’t help you- it only helps her. That would give her the right to occupy the residence as his companion- but no liability for rent. Bad move.

Legal Disclaimer
The Landlord Protection Agency’s “Ask the Attorney” column is for informational purposes only. The questions answered by Mr. Reno on this site do not constitute an attorney – client relationship and are not to be considered legal advice. Not all questions will be answered and some may appear in the LPA Q&A Forum.
The Landlord Protection Agency recommends that you seek legal advice before using any of the material offered on this web site, and makes no guarantee on the effectiveness, compliance with local laws or success of any of the material offered on this web site. The Landlord Protection Agency is not engaged in rendering legal advice.

Evicted Tenant Still Owes Money

ask-the-attorneyThe Landlord Protection Agency®presents John Reno, Esq.,a highly experienced Landlord – Tenant attorney based on Long Island, NY.

Q:  Dear Mr. Reno:

My tenants were evicted due to non-payment of rent. They did pay a portion but unable to provide full amount due. I want to try and recover the balance owed plus some damages left after moving, cost of not being able to rent due to time it will take for repairs, and cleaning fees. Most, if not all issues, are covered in signed lease. How and where do I go about this? Thank you. Carol – PA.

A: The tenants are no longer in possession so the eviction court has no jurisdiction. It’s a small claims court case now. Twenty dollar filing fee. Good Luck.

Legal Disclaimer
The Landlord Protection Agency’s “Ask the Attorney” column is for informational purposes only. The questions answered by Mr. Reno on this site do not constitute an attorney – client relationship and are not to be considered legal advice. Not all questions will be answered and some may appear in the LPA Q&A Forum.
The Landlord Protection Agency recommends that you seek legal advice before using any of the material offered on this web site, and makes no guarantee on the effectiveness, compliance with local laws or success of any of the material offered on this web site. The Landlord Protection Agency is not engaged in rendering legal advice.

Tenant Hurricane Procedures

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Please only call Bev Roberts Rentals when absolutely necessary, so that we may keep our lines open for emergency concerns. Please refrain from calling to get storm updates. Our team is currently getting inundated with phone calls and emails. It’s not that we don’t want to hear from you, we appreciate the concern and covet your thoughts and prayers right now. We understand that everyone is worried about Hurricane Irma, but per the North Carolina governor, Roy Cooper, “It’s too soon to know how North Carolina will be impacted.” Please keep in mind that this is our home too – so our team takes this very seriously! Many of us have lived here though numerous storms and hurricanes, so understand there is a “wait and see” period with hurricanes requiring patience. Do not panic when you see headlines declaring a state of emergency. The state of emergency allows us to get a plan activated and the teams and equipment in place in case the hurricane makes landfall in North Carolina.

Instead of calling, please use the links below for Bev Roberts Rentals information updates. Bev Roberts Rentals works hard to keep tenants and landlords informed – prior, during and post storm. We recommend everyone monitor Bev Roberts Rentals here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bevrobertsrentals/

Tenant Preparation Procedures:

Stay tuned to the local news media and follow all recommended precautions and instructions. We would like you to take a few minutes to review the hurricane plan we utilize.

  1. Log into your Tenant Portal and review your contact information. Please inform us if any of this information needs updating. Each manager utilizes this information to notify tenants of important changes, problems and/or issues.
  2. Take photos of the home and your contents at their current state for insurance purposes. After the storm, inspect the home for damage, take photos, and report damage to Bev Roberts Rentals. If possible, submit photos via the online Maintenance Request system.
  3. Please write down the below contact information for your property manager, and keep it in a safe place: Bev Roberts: (919) 630-3882 or bev@robertsrentals.net, Craig Brockman: (919) 609-3131 or craig@robertsrentals.net, and Nick Roberts: (919) 244-1649 or nick@robertsrentals.net
  4. Turn off main water to house if a pipe leak is noticed. If you smell gas, turn off main gas valve.
  5. Anchor or shelter outdoor potted plans, awnings, patio and lawn furniture, grills, and trash and recycling receptacles.
  6. Turn off propane tanks.
  7. Close all windows.
  8. Do not open refrigerator unless necessary. In case of lengthy power outages, remove food from refrigerator prior to spoiling to prevent odor damage. Empty ice bucket to prevent damage to floor from melting ice.
  9. Insert wedges in sliding patio doors; if not protected, damaging winds will lift them off their tracks and blow them into the house.
  10. Lower radio and television antennas, protect satellite dishes.
  11. Close all outdoor electrical outlets.
  12. Secure garage, porch doors, and storm doors.
  13. Purchase a flashlight (do NOT use candles) and extra batteries.
  14. Charge all cell phones.
  15. Unplug electrical equipment.
  16. Do NOT tape or board up windows. This can actually cause more damage to the windows or siding of the house.
  17. If you are instructed to evacuate the home by local authorities: If possible, please notify Bev Roberts Rentals, lock all doors, turn off main breaker, turn off main gas line, turn off main water supply to the home.

Bev Roberts Rentals Will Be Closed Labor Day

US Flag Picnic

Dear Landlords & Tenants,

Bev Roberts Rentals will be closed on Monday, September 4, 2017 in observance of Labor Day.  We will return to regular business hours on Tuesday, September 5th at 9:00 AM EST.  As customary, we will remain available by phone and appointment while the office building is closed.  The outdoor drop-box is checked daily. The online portal system is available during non-business hours as well.

Tenants… As a friendly reminder, please be aware of the lease terms due to the Federal Holiday:  “All rents shall be paid in advance on or before the first day of each month.  Tenant shall pay the late fee if any rental payment is five days or more late.  Tenant understands and agrees postal delays, envelope post-mark dates, bank discrepancies, online payment system errors, weekends or holidays, or any other pretext does not constitute a waiver of late fees.”

10 Things All Landlords Should Remember To Ensure Good Tenant Relations

1Investing in rental property can be highly rewarding if successful, as it can help build your net worth and make a profit by generating a steady monthly income. This type of investment takes work, however, with landlords having to worry not only about finding the right property but also about maintaining it, making it attractive for potential tenants and finding suitable and trustworthy renters.

All experienced landlords have their share of tenant horror stories, ranging from dealing with unruly renters to facing significant property damage, but with a proper screening process in place, most problems can be avoided. Establishing a professional, positive relationship between landlord and tenant can help the former obtain a solid return on investment and the latter achieve a higher quality of life. Below, 10 real estate experts with Forbes Real Estate Council share some of the most important things any landlord should remember to improve their tenant relations.

1. Over-Communication

Keeping good lines of communication open can solve many landlord/tenant problems. Make sure tenants understand why things are happening, and give good advance notice for anything disruptive. – Jeremy Brandt, WeBuyHouses.com

2. Tenants Are People, Too

The opportunity to serve others comes with a variety of faces. As a landlord, the ability to engage with tenants as stakeholders brings conscious leadership to our everyday interactions. Home is where the heart is, and supporting people as they create a home is a gift. Realizing you are part of impacting the social/emotional environment for others, brings a humanitarian vibe to a traditional role. – Susan Leger Ferraro, Peace, Love, Happiness Real Estate

3. Boundaries And Limitations

As our investment platform scaled nationally, we noted the variation of landlord-tenant laws as some geographic regions favored landlords disproportionately. We found it essential to understand the legislative dynamics of the community by partnering with local experts to mitigate our liability and legal exposure. – André Bueno, The BM Group

4. Being Approachable

Many tenants are afraid to contact their landlord about issues. From landlords, I hear that tenants don’t tell them about repairs until they are really bad. From tenants, I hear they don’t want to call because they don’t want to bother the landlord or are afraid. Be approachable. Be supportive of you tenants. One way we can help landlords have better tenants is teach tenants about maintenance. – Michelle Ames, HorsePower Realty/Realty Executives Metroplex

5. Trust Is The Key To A Better Relationship

My company was born from my own awful renting experience when I was pitted against other potential tenants in a bidding war. Even worse than the high monthly rent, I ended up with was the poor relationship with the landlord that ensued. Renters who have a poor experience leasing their home are more likely to churn from their lease. Landlords should make sure they build trust in the leasing phase. – Anthemos Georgiades, Zumper

6. Better Protocol

The majority of horror stories typically boil down to one thing: horrible tenants, right? However, it is incumbent upon the landlord or property manager to have a proper, thorough and strictly held vetting process for which to qualify the people who will be occupying your investment. If you’re allowing just anyone, the nightmare began before the lease even started; you just didn’t realize it yet. – Tracy Royce, Royce of Real Estate

7. The Little Things

I’ve come to the conclusion that succeeding in real estate comes down to doing the little things on a consistent basis. The same thing goes for being a landlord. Little things such as a move-in package and holiday gift cards for tenants, responding quickly to maintenance requests and being pleasant can be the difference between a tenant that will want to stay and pay and one that won’t. – Engelo Rumora, List’n Sell Realty

8. Careful Lease Review Before Signing

Many people sign documents without thoroughly reading them. Although it is not your job to hold your tenant’s hand through committing to the terms you have laid out, if you take the time, in the beginning, to make sure they understand and are willing to comply with all the terms, there will be fewer surprises later on and less chance of conflict. – Hillary Hobson, Highest Cash Offer

9. Tenants Are Clients

Every landlord should remind themselves that tenants are their clients. They’re also trusting those clients with a very valuable asset. It’s best to be respectful, communicate openly and professionally and take care of tenants so they take care of the rental property. A landlord’s behavior influences the tenants’ behavior. – Dave Zirnhelt, Snap Up Real Estate

10. Having A Property Manager

I own a property management company that collects rent, handles tenant requests/repairs, takes care of everything from A-Z. Take the stress off your shoulders as the landlord and let a professional handle the “dirty” work for you. Let us be the “bad” guy, while you vacation in the Bahamas with friends. The less you interact with your tenant, the better your relationship will be with them. – Angela Yaun, Day Realty Group

Source: forbes.com

9 Sneaky Fees to Watch for When Hiring a Property Manager

security-deposit-piggy-bank-moneyTo many landlords, property management services are superfluous, cutting their profit margins to a minimum in exchange for basic services. But the reality is that property managers can make your life extraordinarily easier—and most charge a reasonable enough rate that you can draw a monthly profit from your properties (headache-free).

However, when you’re searching for a property manager to handle your landlord responsibilities, it’s important to note that not all fee structures are the same. If you don’t understand how a manager’s fees work, you won’t be able to compare apples to apples, and you might end up shaving your profit more than necessary if you aren’t prepared for those fees when they come up.

9 Fees to Watch For

These are some of the most common “hidden” fees, extra fees, and differences in fee structure to watch for when comparing providers or finalizing a contract:

1. Rent Due and Rent Collected

Many property managers will charge fees as a percentage of rent, but watch how this is worded—there’s a difference between charging as a percentage of rent due and a percentage of rent collected. A percentage of rent due means your company will charge you based on how much money a tenant owes you; a percentage of rent collected means your company will charge you based on how much money a tenant actually pays you—and is generally more favorable. If you’re charged based on rent due, you’ll end up paying for property management even when your property is vacant and you have no money coming in.

2. Early Cancellation

You may also be charged an early cancellation fee should you break the contract with your property manager before the end of its outlined term. For example, if you agree to work with them for a year and you want out after eight months, you might pay an additional few hundred dollars. Be especially wary of this fee with untested property managers.

3. A La Carte Management Fees

“A la carte” management fees refer to a suite of extra fees a property manager may charge you in addition to basic services. Usually, a property manager will either charge a higher price (and no additional fees) or a lower price, with multiple additional fees, somewhat evening out. Accordingly, it pays to know what fees are applicable and what they might run you. The remaining items in this list could all be classified as a la carte management fees.

4. Vacancy

If a company isn’t charging you the full cost of management while your property is vacant, there may still be an additional vacancy fee. Rather than collecting a percentage of rent due, they may collect a smaller amount from you as a kind of retainer.

5. Advertising

When it comes time to seek a new tenant, some property managers may charge you an additional advertising fee. This would cover the cost of creating media (such as taking photos) and placing it on sources like online listings or paper publications.

6. Leasing

A leasing fee may apply when you find a new tenant for your property. This covers the cost of drafting and securing a new lease agreement and is generally low in cost. If the cost here is high, it should raise a red flag, especially if your resulting tenant turnover seems to increase.

7. Lease Renewal

Lease renewal is even simpler than initial leasing, but it may still require a fee. You may need to draw up new paperwork or renegotiate terms with a tenant, and that means your property managers will be doing a bit of extra work. Expect minimal fees here as well.

8. Maintenance

Property management fees should cover basic instances of maintenance and repair, but some companies may charge extra for big jobs, or for an inspection between tenants.

9. Eviction

Eviction can be a messy process, and if you ever need to evict, you’ll be grateful you have a property management service in your corner. Most property managers will handle the eviction completely on your behalf, but some will charge you an extra fee for the extra work involved. Expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars for this process.

Apples to Apples

Different companies might charge money in different ways, but if they’re offering similar services, you’ll likely find the bottom-line price of each to be competitive with one another. The big difference here is how you plan on using your property management company; for example, if you’re looking for long-term arrangements, an early cancellation fee shouldn’t factor much into your decision. Try to consider all these factors and all price points when comparing providers and making your decision.

Source: biggerpockets.com